Tess smiled and shook her head. In a sense it was dishonest. She would have liked a piece of chewing gum. What she did not want was the embarrassment of someone trying to make friends with her.It was easier to stay out of it from the beginning, rather than facethe disappointment which inevitably followed. Because she had been through it too often now to believe that things could ever bedifferent. All her life her family had been on the move. A year here,two years there, following her father’s promotions wherever they took him.Tess had found it difficult at first but she had come to accept itas the years went by. Her parents encouraged her to make new friends wherever they were, and had even gone as far as arrangingparties for her, but they didn’t understand. They couldn’t. She wentalong with their parties and sometimes went as far as to invitesomeone home for a weekend, to please them. But it was the bestshe could do. She had long ago come to realise that she would neverreally be able to make close friends. She was different and thatdifference was something that she would never be able to share withanyone.The girl beside her got up as her stop approached. ‘Bye,’ shesaid. ‘See you Monday.’‘See you,’ said Tess. There were still a few girls, like this one, who were making an effort, but it wouldn’t last long. Soon she would be forgotten and ignored, dismissed as a swot or as too stuck up to bother with. That was painful sometimes, but it was easier thanhaving to pretend to be like everyone else.The bus stopped and the girl got off, pulling on her gloves.Students from the local vocational school were about on the streets.
They didn’t have to wear uniforms, and they looked relaxed and
Kate Thompson SWITCHERS